At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Comcast announced that it would soon debut a new WiFi 6E Gateway, which it described as its “most powerful WiFi device to date.” The device, according to the announcement, offers three different WiFi bands: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and a new, 6 GHz band.
“The next generation gateway underpins our commitment to providing the best whole-home WiFi experience with the fastest speeds, ultimate control, advanced cybersecurity protection, and broad coverage in the home,” Dave Watson, CEO of the Comcast Cable division, said in the January announcement.
“We’re also making the latest advancement in WiFi available to our customers today, so their home networks are ready for all of the WiFi 6E capable devices that hit the shelves in the future.”
This week, Comcast announced that it is rolling out what it calls “Supersonic WiFi,” which is enabled by the new WiFi 6E gateway.
A company fact sheet about the technology says that the new system is “capable of delivering speeds faster than 1 Gbps today,” adding that it will be able to handle the faster speeds of the future. These speeds will be especially important when multiple people in households use the network for different things at the same time.
“Our Supersonic WiFi is made to do anything so our customers can do everything they want online, and our latest gateway enables key features like speeds faster than a gig to power a house full of devices—all at once,” Sophia Ahmad, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Comcast, said in the announcement.
Comcast, in a recent “trends report,” stated that it connected nearly one billion devices over WiFi in 2021. According to the Verge, Comcast’s move is significant because until now, WiFi 6E products have not been very affordable. The cable giant’s $14 per month price point for Comcast’s xFi Gateway rental program, however, will put the next-generation technology within the reach of many more people than before.
While WiFi 6 debuted just two years ago in 2019, next-generation WiFi 6E was made possible soon after that by the FCC’s vote to allow 1,200 megahertz of spectrum for unlicensed use, which Wi-FI 6E requires. Most major router manufacturers, including TP-Link, Netgear, and ASUS, revealed new WiFi 6E router products at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
“Despite several larger OEMs and Internet Service Providers pulling back from physically attending, the Consumer Electronics Show saw some interesting device launches for wireless routers by key industry leaders,” research firm Counterpoint Research said shortly after the event.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.